Cure the summertime blues with … the blues

April E. Clark
Arts and Entertainment Contributor
Native American finger-style blues musician Cary Morin headlines KDNK Community Access Radio's annual Blues & BBQ membership drive concert at 7 p.m. Saturday. The party starts at 4 p.m. at the Fourth Street Plaza in downtown Carbondale with valley rock and blues from Hannibal Brown.
Publicity photo / Don Casper Photography |

CARBONDALE — Fort Collins fingerpicking-style bluesman Cary Morin started his musical journey with piano lessons in the fourth grade.

He hasn’t stopped playing music since.

“Finger-style is something I have been interested in since a kid. I took piano lessons for about six years. I was interested in ragtime music,” he said. “I pursued that style of music as an adult but not seriously till about five years ago when I started concentrating on acoustic guitar.”

Morin, headliner of KDNK’s Blues & BBQ at 7 p.m. Saturday at Fourth Street Plaza, grew up in Great Falls, Mont. The musical prodigy was drawn to playing in rock, bluegrass and country bands as a teen.

“I really loved country swing and bands like Asleep at the Wheel. I also listened to folk music quite a bit. I was very interested in [acoustic guitarist] Leo Kottke but couldn’t figure out how he does what he does.”
Cary Morin

“I really loved country swing and bands like Asleep at the Wheel. I also listened to folk music quite a bit,” he said. “I was very interested in [acoustic guitarist] Leo Kottke but couldn’t figure out how he does what he does.”

The Montana native said it wasn’t until he moved to Colorado at 18 that he began to discover artists that would eventually influence his song selection when playing in bands.

“It was largely Bob Marley and other reggae artists that I listened to the most,” he said. “I would say my biggest musical influences are Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, and Bob Wills.”

For about 20 years, Morin played electric guitar with Colorado band The Atoll. Traveling from different gigs, Morin always aspired to play the blues in the acoustic fingerpicking style of his guitar hero, Kottke.

“Sometimes I took the acoustic with me to practice finger-style in my free time,” he recalled. “I only knew one tune, and I think it drove the rest of the band crazy having to hear that one song over and over again.”

Some of the favorite musicians and bands Morin has shared the stage with include Eric Bibb, David Wilcox, Pepper, Ratt, David Lindley, Asleep at the Wheel, The Subdudes and The Atoll. Always keeping music center in his life, Morin said he has been rehearsing with a new project daily that has him excited. And he is keeping his options open musically by jamming with various acts as needed.

“I currently will play with anyone that will have me,” he said. “I also play with a band based out of North Carolina called the Pura Fe Trio. I play with the Liz Barnez band here in Fort Collins.”

In his career, Morin has traveled throughout the U.S. and to Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium and England to play the blues. One of the first electric guitars he ever played is on display at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery as part of the city’s nod to popular musicians.

Morin said he hopes his music conveys a message of being in the moment through his style of blues.

“I’ve always felt that art in general provides an escape from daily life even if just for a moment,” he said. “Viewing a painting or sculpture, the sound of a musical piece heard for the first time. It gives me a moment to think of nothing but the art. I like that and hope that my music does the same for people.”

Morin’s fans might be surprised to learn that along with electric and acoustic guitar, he loves playing pedal steel guitar. He is always open to playing, and listening to, any style of music. A lover of nature as well as music, Morin said he is looking forward to his journey to Colorado’s Western Slope to play blues Saturday night.

“I have always lived at least within sight of the mountains. Being in the mountains and around beautiful rivers reminds me of home,” he said. “I enjoy skiing and fly fishing in the mountains. Guitar and BBQ is good, too.”

Before Morin takes the Blues & BBQ stage, Grand Junction’s Texas Flood plays a two-hour show at 5 p.m. in tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble with authentic equipment and costume changes. Local band Hannibal Brown starts the party for KDNK’s 30th anniversary membership drive at 4 p.m. with rocking blues influenced by the North Mississippi Allstars.

The fundraising event features barbecue favorites from the Goat Restaurant in Carbondale. Admission is free for all KDNK members with a community card and $5 for general admission. KDNK will serve selected beverages to compliment the barbecue, as well as broadcast music from the event that can be streamed live online at

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